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I'm currently looking into (image based) backup solutions for Windows (XP, Win7).

One problem I have is that I'm not sure how to verify that the backups can really, actually, reliably be restored without trying to restore it.

So I though I might set up a Virtual Box VM and then boot with the rescue media created by the image based backup tool and restore the image into the VM machine.

Does this make sense? Is it doable?

Note: I know that some tools have the ability to create a VM image/disk directly. That's not what I need. I want to test the actual restore process within a VM.

For me, the most important thing about a backup is that I know that restore will work flawlessly. I only know this if I have done it, and the VM testing solution sounds like a good one.


Update: I tried it and the restore to virtual did work. (After allocating a virtual disk that was larger than the full disk I backed up, not only larger than the used space I backed up.) I have not yet been able to start it (because of GRUB in the MBR), but I should be able to figure this out.

The question I'm asking myself now is: Will it run? Or not? Or what?

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@Moab: It's not about (self) verification of the image. It's about whether the backup procedure really works. (see latest edit) –  Martin Sep 25 '11 at 16:58

2 Answers 2

This is doable using Virtual Box. Install Virtual Box, Create a New VM with the setting required for the new system, Open the settings for the new VM and add a CD drive using either an ISO of your rescue media or the CD drive on your computer, and finally start the VM and go through the process.

It should be pretty straightforward, if all you're doing is testing if the rescue disk does what it's supposed to do.

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While the backup and restore of the image may work, the Virtual Machine may not boot (properly, or at all) as as far as the image is concered the whole computer has change, it's gone from your computers hard disk, processor, motherboard and RAM to the virtual hardware provided by the virtual machine. Bootting in safe mode may work.

However, just to see if it works it's not a bad idea.

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